The second edition of Rapunzel the Musical will debut next December 2 at the Brancaccio Theater. This show has played an important role in the recent history of the theater production center, under the aegis of Viola productions. It is in fact its genesis.
In May of 2014 Alessandro Longobardi met Maurizio Colombi director, Milanese author who was developing a new project. From that meeting, in a bar near the Milan station, the seed was planted which bore fruit, such as the return of the splendid Lorella Cuccarini to the theatre, the birth of the aforementioned production center and the team of professionals who placed the its operational headquarters in the prestigious Brancaccio Theatre and in the nascent Empire space, where rehearsal rooms and a theater academy were built over time.
And then the friendship, in work and in life, of the two propellers of the project Rapunzel the musical or Colombi and Longobardi; the latter, who had directed the first two seasons of the Brancaccio Theater since 2012, understood that the transition towards the production of large popular shows was obligatory, both to balance the economic management of the Brancaccio Theater and to give full meaning to that long and perilous journey undertaken in 2001 to create a production chain where planning, production and distribution coexisted.
In 2020, Covid, devastating for the live sector, freezes this reality. Today the challenge to bring the spectators back to the theater is repeated.
The creative group of the first edition of 2014 is confirmed, which keeps its harmony intact and gives value to the tradition of local artistic and artisanal experiences.
Rapunzel the all-Italian musical, written by a group of authors directed by Maurizio Colombi, is a version of the famous fairy tale by the Grimm brothers which is reworked by transforming Gothel, Grethel’s sister and Rapunzel’s stepmother, into the main protagonist and transposing the whole work into musical genre. After the success of the Roman performances, the show began its tour of the main Italian theaters for two sensational seasons, rightfully becoming a musical classic, loved by young and old alike and acclaimed by more than 150,000 spectators.
To eight years since its first debut, this family show looks to the new generations, who never like now in the post Covid need to go back to experiencing the emotions of a great live show, to share with their family and friends. Rapunzel the musical captures the attention of viewers of all ages to live, sing and laugh all together.
Here are the protagonists of this second edition:
Lorella Cuccarinishe is the absolute protagonist in the role of the perfidious Gothel shrewd and charming stepmother of Rapunzel.
Silvia Scartozzoniit’s the sweet one Rapunzel , who growing up will show his character and find his love Phil; Silvia – already alongside Lorella Cuccarini in “The Ice Queen the musical” in the role of the witch Nebbia – is a highly talented soprano.
Renato Raw – now a darling of the Brancaccio Theater audience having played the role of “Abdul” and the narrator in “Aladin the brilliant musical” and of “Toto” in the latest edition of “Add a seat at the table” – excellent tenor, he will be Phil the light-hearted thief and playful with a generous heart, who will fall in love with Rapunzel.
The music and lyrics of the songs are original and composed by Davide Magnabosco, Alessandro Procacci and Paolo Barillari: 19 engaging songs like the “Rapunzel Dance”, romantic like “Dove Sarai” and exciting like “A 5-star suite”.
The musical direction is by Davide Magnabosco.
The scenographic project is by Alexander Chitiwhich reinterprets the settings of the medieval fairy tale in a modern key. The scenic system is made up of over 15 paintings in continuous movement thanks to the expert work of the technicians. The special effects enrich the entire show with amazement, leaving the spectators to dream. After crossing the threshold of the theater you enter a fantastic imaginary, to experience the adventure of Rapunzel the musical.
Each setting needs its own costumes and it is Francesca Grossi who has conceived and created, through the in-house tailoring of the Brancaccio Theater, that sign that adds a dose of personality to the characters.
Just as the choreography and choral movements signed by Rita Pivano make the show dynamic and fun, determining the success of the ensemble.
The stylistic figure that Maurizio Colombi gives to his shows is known and recalls his passion for the “cartoon” effect, taken up in the costumes, in the make-up, in the choreography and also in some acting moments such as in the mimicry of the actors – character actors. Most of the recitations are accompanied and punctuated by sound effects played live by keyboards and percussion.
The show also features a sort of “double fiction” in the theatre, where the real characters on stage are transformed into animated drawings on video, in a continuous exchange between reality and animation.
The artistic cast is made up of 19 performers, dancers, acrobats, singers.
Maurizio Semeraro is the King and Polifemo, the leader of the brigands, already interpreted in the first edition. He too is a darling of the Brancaccio audience after being Jafar in “Aladin the brilliant musical”; Rossella Contu is Queen Grethel, mother of Rapunzel; Andrea Spata plays the role of the captain of the guards and of Milord, adviser to the king.
In the reinterpretation of the famous fairy tale, Colombi has foreseen the insertion of some absolutely new characters created for this version, among these the royal guard “Hound”, with canine features (Mattia Inverni), who is expressed only in Grammelot; “Rosa and Thorn” (Martina Lunghi and Matilde Pellegri) the two talking flowers in which Rapunzel can confide when she is locked up in the tower; the “Spiegel” mirror which reflects Rapunzel’s conscience and gives voice to her wishes.
As in all fairy tales, the brigands, the guards, the common people and above all the figure of the storyteller, played by Giacomo Marcheschi, cannot be missing.
Gothel is the princess of a kingdom who, due to compromised health, begins to live in the shadow of her sister Gretel who, beautiful and healthy, is designated queen in her place. Feeling rejected by her, she is dominated by the obsession for her beauty and she devotes herself to witchcraft and the study of medicinal herbs: this is how she discovers a flower with her extraordinary power, capable of giving her new splendour. Gretel, having become queen, is unable to have children and falls seriously ill. The King asks his sister for a remedy to help his wife get better of her. Gothel thus prepares a filter with her flower, in exchange for a promise: the born child would be raised by herself. She was born a girl called Rapunzel, with long blond hair that possesses the same magical power of the flower, Gothel’s fountain of youth. Kidnapped and locked up in a tower by Gothel, the little girl grows up without any contact with the outside world, until her eighteenth birthday. On that day Phil, a light-hearted thief, who escaped after a theft, enters the tower and helps Rapunzel to get out and discover the surrounding reality. The escape becomes the moment of growth and awareness of Rapunzel who goes through a thousand vicissitudes: battles between guards and brigands, chases. Rapunzel discovers life and, when history seems to take a turn for the worse, love triumphs.
The story recalls the eternal confrontation between good and evil, between the lust for the vanities of fatuous things and the taste for simple things. Thus was born the confrontation between Rapunzel, the positive heroine in search of her true identity, and the antagonist, Gothel (Go-to-Hell), a selfish woman, focused on herself and on the cult of vanity and eternal youth , who will push her to use any means to stop the inevitable flow of time. In the song “My life is her”, Gothel expresses her maternal feeling but also evil and possessive towards Rapunzel.
The other characters live and move around the two heroines: a king and a queen caught in their humanity; a cunning and likable thief who falls in love and becomes a hero; a bungling captain in command of bumbling guards; brigands and scoundrels easy to subjugate. the people and the court ready to exult or condemn.
Rapunzel the musical is a story of love, friendship, power and magic that helps us reflect on everything that deceives us like vanity and what makes us feel good like love for others.
Rapunzel’s music was written by Davide Magnabosco, Alex Procacci and Paolo Barillari. Three authors with different tastes for three different styles, classic symphonic Magnabosco, more modern Procacci and always vocally avant-garde and more pop/folk Barillari.
The union of different musical styles amalgamates perfectly creating emotional situations in symbiosis with the characters, the scenes and the costumes.
Davide Magnabosco, who also took care of the arrangements, summoned a team of extraordinary musicians (Alex Polifrone, Eugenio Mori, Marco Brioschi) to the recording studio and personally supervised the drafting of the symphonic orchestration, which unites all the pieces of the musical.
The choral arrangements were handled by Alex Procacci, who was able to range from gospel sonorities with rich and never predictable harmonies to more classic pieces, always fully enhancing not only the voices of the soloists but also the voices of the whole cast, creating exciting and strong impact.
The show is accompanied by a live soundtrack, which dynamically follows the recitation, enriching the story told on stage with melodies and effects.
The idea of imagining the scenography for the Rapunzel show was a very particular, exhilarating and stimulating experience for various reasons.
First of all, the fact that it was a show intended essentially and above all for children, but consequently and certainly also for parents, meant that, in addition to the fairy-tale aspect, it must also have the characteristics of a true musical.
The main problem, at the level of conception, therefore became that of giving, as much as possible, credibility to the tale even through a “magical atmosphere” which however had an almost realistic depth.
The most complicated thing about the scenic construction was to recreate Rapunzel’s Tower, both from a strictly architectural point of view and for its position on stage, making it usable and well-defined both inside and outside, also because it was fundamental for the dramaturgical development of the fairy tale, as well as for the childhood imagination. I wanted to imagine the tower immersed in a wood, in which I wanted to bring sketches and magic together.
The decisive key was therefore to find a unique element, a filter, in which to immerse all the elements of the fairy tale. The idea of the interweaving of branches, with which I wanted to cover the tower, then became the leitmotiv, that is the real recurring motif of the whole show, through which it was possible to create, with special light effects, that fairy-tale atmosphere essential for telling the story.
Behind a scenography that works there is great teamwork, great collaboration and shared passion between the technical team and the creative team, actors on stage and the audience that responds, all important ingredients for decreeing and then achieving the success of a show, and This is exactly what happened in Rapunzel!
As I usually do, my choreographies follow the style and imprint that the director gives to the musical; in this case I worked on the different characters giving them a cartoon flavor, passing from the energy of “She was born” to the sensuality of “My life is her” with a nod to Broadway in the song “If you imagine you can”